Vasilije Petrović

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Vasilije Petrović
Metropolitan of Montenegro
Vasilije petrovic.jpg
Church Patriarchate of Peć (Serbian Orthodox Church)
Metropolis Cetinje
See Cetinje
Installed 1744
Term ended 1766
Personal details
Born 1709
Njeguši, Montenegro Vilayet, Ottoman Empire (now Montenegro)
Died 10 March 1766
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire (now Russia)
Denomination Eastern Orthodox Christianity (Serbian)
Coat of arms

Vasilije Petrović (1709 – 10 March 1766) was the metropolitan bishop of Cetinje (the "Prince-Bishop of Montenegro"). Also, he wrote the history of Montenegro. He ruled together with Sava Petrović, his cousin.

Political background

It is said that the modern political history of Montenegro began with Danilo Petrović, who turned the Petrović-Njegoš family into a dynasty. From the beginning, the Petrović-Njegoš took the lead in attempting to revive the medieval Serbian Empire. Danilo was eventually succeeded by his two nephews Sava Petrović, and then Vasilije.

Bishop Sava was an impotent and myopic personality who would have found it hard to make his way even over well-trodden paths. But there were no well-trodden paths in Montenegro at the time, nor could there be. Those were the times that called either for endurance or for great leaps. Sava found comfort in following Danilo's lead by continuing to maintain ties with Venice when such ties did not need to be maintained.


During that time Vasilije ruled together with Sava, his brother, as his coadjutor. Vasilije between 1750 and 1766 even tried to convince Austria's Maria Theresa that "since the time of Alexander the Great his country has been a separate republic ruled by a prince" but to no avail. Vasilije shunted Sava aside as soon as he realized that Sava followed his predecessor's (Danilo) ties with Venice all too zealously. Vasilije immediately made for Russia and began to set Montenegro back on its feet. With the help of Russian arms, he went to war with the Turks and then had to seek refuge back to Russia, where he died. His sacrifice founded a country, a state, perhaps only in name, but still an identity.


After Vasilije, Sava was to return with the same policy as before, allying himself with Venice. But that didn't last long as Šćepan Mali who, pretending to be the Russian Tsar Peter III, managed to convince the people that he would rule Montenegro. He immediately severed ties with Venice altogether, implemented the rule of law, began building roads until his life was cut short in 1774 by an assassin sent by Mustafa Bushati, the Vizier of Skadar. Then Sava served as metropolitan once again, and after him his nephew, Arsenije Plamenac of Crmnica, became metropolitan. But Arsenije, too, was soon to die, in 1784. Once again a member of the Petrović-Njegoš, now Petar I Petrović-Njegoš, was installed.

Literary works

The writing and teaching of Montenegrin history was a chief interest for most of Vasilije's life, as well as his occupation as a spiritual leader. Istorija o Černoj Gori (History of Montenegro), published in Moscow in 1754, is his most quoted work. It is the first known attempt of modern-day Montenegrins to document their history in writing. It is not only historiographical, but also geographical, ethnological and ethical description of its country. Vasilije formulated an elaborate theory of Montenegrin history as a dynamic and deterministic process. On the basis of this theory he alluded that the next century would see a new nation, a new state. He called special attention to the future but left prediction out of the equation.


The full measure of Vasilije's contribution to Montenegrin history is the strongly pro-Russian orientation he helped to foster in his faithful during his lifetime and after. That in itself has shaped the future direction of Montenegro's foreign policy and the Eastern Orthodox bond that unites the Serb and the Russian, racially and religiously.



  • Metropolitan of Montenegro, Skenderija and Primorje, and Exarch of the Serb throne (smjerni mitropolit crnogorski, skenderijski i primorski i trona srpskoga, egzarh)[1]


  1. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Jovan Skerlić, Istorija nove srpske književnosti /A History of Modern Serbian Literature (Belgrade, 1921) pages 46–47

External links

Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Metropolitan of Cetinje
Succeeded by